10 tips for giving quotable, notable interviews: Part Two

By Robyn Sachs, President & CEO of RMR & Associates, Inc.

Part One of this article detailed my first five tips for steering an interview the way you want it to go. (Don’t worry if you haven’t read it yet; each part stands alone and can be read in any order.) Follow these tips and you’ll get your key points across clearly for quotable, notable interviews.

Tip 6: Nix the cliches.

If it’s been said a million times, don’t say it again. That means burying the adages about squeaky wheels, early birds and the sports analogies, too. They’ve all been done before. Be remembered by being different: an original. You’ve most likely witnessed celebrities promoting their movies by making the rounds of talk shows and telling the same stories at each one. Give each interviewer something new.

Tip 7: Practice your key points.

You don’t want to come across as rehearsed or exactly like other interviews you may have given. But you also don’t want to experience the horror of forgetting what you were about to say, especially when you are nervous or distracted. Repeat your two or three key points — the main messages you want people to remember — in different words each time, conversationally and without industry jargon. Have a key word for each so you can remember your points in sequence, such as “customer-focused, uniqueness, volunteering.”

Tip 8: Stay on topic.

When the conversation begins to wander, bring it back to one of your key points. Vary them throughout the interview so each one is heard and reiterated equally. To remember something, people have to hear or read it multiple times. Once is never enough.

Tip 9: Look the interviewer in the eye.

When people see themselves on video, their most common reaction is shock. They didn’t realize how their eyes wandered all around the room, avoiding looking directly at the person they were talking with. It’s natural to look up when you’re thinking, and to look down when embarrassed or unsure. Avoid these foibles by looking at the interviewer as you speak. This is also a good way to gauge their reactions to your comments. For instance, if you see that your answer surprised them, you might want to explain your point further.

In phone interviews, you have the advantage of not being in the same room staring at each other, but this can also be a disadvantage. You can’t see each other’s expressions or body language, and tone of voice can be misinterpreted. You may come across as distant or distracted. Clear your desk except for your notes and really focus on the questions you’re being asked.

For video chats, make sure your camera is positioned so the interviewer can actually see you. It’s hard to make a good impression when all they can see is your forehead. Adjust your camera as needed, and ask the interviewer to do the same, so you’re both seeing at least each other’s whole head. Look directly into the lens of your phone or camera and you will look attentive.

Tip 10: Be aware of your body language.

Body language not only reveals how you’re feeling at the moment; it can also affect how you feel. For example, arms crossed over your chest indicates a closed mind or a hesitancy to reveal too much. But crossed arms also make you feel detached from other people and their ideas, so make sure you’re presenting yourself “with open arms” and you will feel and seem friendlier and more open.

Final thoughts

Research, prepare and practice. An interviewer may be asking the questions, but by using the 10 tips in this two-part article, you can keep an interview from getting off track. I know you’ll do great!